Leadership key in volunteer sector

It is true that leadership in the corporate and business world differs markedly from that of the volunteer sector ("Leaders in non-profit groups should be properly trained" by Mr Paul Heng; Monday).

A set of leadership styles that works well in a business corporation may not be as effective in a non-profit entity, and vice versa. It is, thus, imperative that key people who embark on helming a volunteer organisation study the issue in perspective.

Nothing makes volunteers more disenchanted than having leaders who attach greater importance to hierarchical structure, which should not be the case in a non-profit organisation. It does not help that some leaders have the mentality that a volunteer is subservient to them.

Non-profit groups can be successful if the people involved in them possess a sense of camaraderie and are able to work as a team.

Hence, leaders and members should meet regularly to review and deliberate on their current work, as well as potential community projects that the organisation can initiate.

In other words, everyone in such a group has an important part to play in shaping things, and this motivates volunteers to continue serving and to feel relevant.

This happy state of affairs provides a win-win situation for both the organisation and its members, thereby fulfilling its objectives to serve the larger community.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 02, 2015, with the headline 'Leadership key in volunteer sector'. Print Edition | Subscribe